In Quebec City this past weekend, Randy Hogg proved a fact that his colleagues here at Bridgehead and thousands of his customers at Bank & Albert will readily say comes as no surprise: he’s one of the best baristas in the country. In a very close competition with some of the most dedicated, creative and talented baristas in Eastern Canada (specifically, this refers to Ottawa -> East) Randy was crowned the 2011 Regional Barista Champion.
The regional barista competitions are qualifiers and training grounds for the Canadian National Barista Championship, to be held this year in Vancouver at the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show in early October. There are four regions within the country and top four in each region will have the opportunity to compete for the National title. These local competitions are themselves qualifiers — for the World Barista Championship. This past year over 50 countries sent National Champions to compete in a 4 day competition in Bogota, Colombia in a monumental effort against all odds to receive the most coveted title in the industry – World Barista Champion. The winner of this years’ National Championship will compete in Vienna, Austria in the early summer of 2012.
The competition requires baristas to prepare espressos, cappuccinos and “signature beverages” of their own creation to a panel of sensory judges while being evaluated on technical ability and station management by two technical judges. Successful baristas will demonstrate their talent and experience by:
- Selecting (and often being involved in the processing of) remarkable coffees;
- preparing espressos and cappuccinos with these coffees using honed manual skills and a robust understanding of espresso machine and grinder engineering in order to bring out the most harmonious balance of sweetness, bitterness, acidity, aromatics and tactile qualities;
- developing and executing signature beverages that are driven in character by their coffee while creatively designed to use other ingredients to synergize with the taste, tactile and aromatic qualities of their particular coffee; and, among other challenges,
- serving coffee to the sensory judges with excellent customer service skills while demonstrating professionalism through communicating their knowledge of coffee in general as well as their specific knowledge of the coffee they are serving.
Give your congratulations to Randy over at Bank & Albert and cheer him on for the Nationals coming up in October!
Congratulations are also due for our amazing team of volounteers that helped to make the event successful:
- Laura Perry: (Barista Trainer) – past Regional Champion and Randy’s coach and mentor
- Brendan Butt (Barista Team Leader at Golden) – veteran volounteer who set up and operated the audio visual technology for the event
- Cliff Hansen (Barista at Second Ave) – past regional and national competitor, coffee philosopher and Sensory Judge
- Harriet Walker, Samantha Storozuk, David Bowden – Enthusiastic volounteers carrying on our proud tradition of helping to make these competitions run successfully